E3 2012: Nintendo Land Hands On
If you happened to check out Nintendo conference, then you most were intrigued by Nintendo Land. The basic concept was pretty interesting, the idea was to take popular series and make them into attractions. Some sounded interesting like The Legend of Zelda Battle Quest, where as others sounded awful such as Animal Crossing Sweet Days. With 12 total events, we were lucky enough to check out 5 of them and see if how the Nintendo Land concept fared.
Luigi’s Ghost Mansion
Easily one of the most interesting games was Luigi’s Ghost Mansion. The concept was pretty simple, you either had to hunt with the ghost or avoid capture through communication and defeat the ghost. Unlike the other games, Ghost Mansion relies too much on communication. Every now and then the wiimore will vibrate, but it’s more to startle you than the ghost being near (which vibrates more rapidly). Once the ghost is near you, you’re basically in a panic trying to nail him. Depending on the tablet users skill, it could be your death or a narrow escape. Unlike the other games, the ghost has a huge edge, so unless you communicate you will fall. This will usually occur once someone is defeated, as others will attempt to assist them or try to fight the ghost on their own.
Donkey Kong’s Crash Course
DK’s Crash Course is basically that one party game where everyone ooo’s and ah’s. To play, you have drive a car like thing down a series of platform straight out of the original Donkey Kong games. All steering is done with the gyroscope, so it will take some getting use to. The real problem isn’t the controls, but the unstated condition. For instance some area’s will require more speed or less speed, which requires a lot more skill than simply driving. As you progress the area’s will become more complex and require things like holding down the triggers to progress. During my time at E3 I didn’t see a single person make it to Princess Peach, so you can a lot of practice is required to complete the level. Despite this high difficulty, friends will certainly have a blast barely making or missing parts, as these will invoke some conversation.
Takamaru’s Ninja Castle
Ninja Castle is Nintendo’s attempt at a rail shooter. However it is far more complex, but also counter productive to this goal. For starters you need to hold the WiiU controller sideways, which is very difficult to get used to. After you get used to it and calibrate the controller, you’re ready to fight off some Ninja’s. Gameplay is fairly straight forward like all rail shooters, enemies will appear in set locations and you need to hit them. The more accurate you’re, the more points you’re awarded. Unlike rail shooters, there are a number of factors that come into play. To attack a ninja you need to swipe the star on your WiiU controller, based off your speed / power, the star will move at a different speed. Sadly the more power you use will push the controller down and that will lead to errors, so there is a lot to watch out for. As you progress the enemies will get more complex, so it isn’t quite straightforward, but it’s close.
The Legend of Zelda Battle Quest
There are two ways of playing Battle Quest. You can either be a swords person, or use the bow with the tablet controller. Based off your role, you will have different tasks to perform. For instance certain enemies can only be defeated with the bow, so a lot more is riding on the bow user. Similar to Ninja Castle, you’re on rails and like Crash Course, you’re using the gyroscope, so it might take some getting use to. The level will continue till you defeat the boss or happen to fall in battle. The outcome will be based solely off how accurate your archer is.
Animal Crossing Sweet Day
Despite sounding/looking like the stupidest mini game, it is actually the most enjoyable one. For starters it has similar mechanics to Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, as the Wii mote users got to beat the tablet user. The tablet user takes control of two guards (yes two at once) and uses the tablets screen to plan their attack. This might sound very hard, but it’s actually shockingly easy (even I was surprised). The general idea is to send them on opposite sides and as your map zooms out, plan your attack. Once you corner someone you can either pounce on them or run into them.
If you’re not playing as the guards, then you get to play as one of the kids looking for candy. You goal is simpler, but at the same time more complex too. This is because candy grows on trees and each tree requires X people to get the candy. These range from 1 (least candy) to 3 (most candy), so it pays to stick together. Getting 50 wins the game, but the more candy you collect, the slower you move. This makes you an easy capture for the guards and 3 of those will spell failure. This is honestly where all the fun stems from. Most likely you will be in a group as getting more candy pays off and naturally this will attract the guards. Once one is on your tail, generally people will start ditching candy to lighten their load. This usually will cause people to get in that tight spot mode and is really a blast to try and avoid the guards.
Out of all the attractions shown in Nintendo Land, Animal Crossing Sweet Day is the hands down winner. It has that party game feel that gamers love, but also feels quite fair on either side. As far as the other events, none of them really stand out. Crash Course is a fantastic game if you’re a fan of taking turns and Ninja Castle is quite fun if you take it easy, but they lack the same lasting impression Sweet Day had. However based off these 5 events, I can say that Nintendo Land plays a lot better than it sounds.